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Graham School announces Master's Degree in Threat and Response Management
Program educates students in emergency preparedness

Feb. 12, 2007

The Graham School of General Studies at the University of Chicago announces the introduction of a Master of Science in Threat and Response Management, an interdisciplinary course of study in emergency preparedness.

The program provides students with a comprehensive education in understanding and managing all aspects of a major public health hazard — such as natural disasters, disease outbreaks, and man-made threats — from preparation through response and recovery. All professionals responsible for preserving and protecting the public’s health and safety are appropriate candidates for the program, whether one works in public health, research, medicine, homeland security, or law enforcement and emergency rescue.

“Most public and private organizations are woefully unprepared to deal with disasters and public health threats when they strike, and it’s usually the health and safety of ordinary people that ends up suffering the most,” said Olaf Schneewind, MD, PhD, chair, Committee on Microbiology and professor, Department of Microbiology, The University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. “The Master of Science in Threat and Response Management program offers students the chance to learn all aspects of preparing for and responding to an unforeseen disaster, from the industry’s leading researchers, policy makers and practitioners. It’s a one-of-a-kind learning experience that ultimately benefits the safety of everyday citizens.”

Program Details

The program is designed as a two-year curriculum, and is taught by a faculty comprised of leaders in the threat-management field, many of whom have been involved directly in the planning for or responding to major hazards affecting public safety. Program faculty include:

  • Michael J. Fagel, who has served various federal agencies providing occupational safety services at disaster sites, including at the World Trade Center in 2001;
  • Scott R. Filer, a former bioterrorism advisor for the United States Secret Service, who currently works as a senior national health security analyst with the Homeland Security Analysis Group at Argonne National Laboratory;
  • Charles M. Macal, director of the Center for Complex Adaptive Agent Systems Simulation at Argonne National Laboratory, who currently is researching, in collaboration with social scientists from the University of Chicago, new methods for understanding long-term threats to national security;
  • James W. Rhee, M.D., an emergency physician and medical toxicologist at the University of Chicago; and
  • Stevan M. Weine, M.D., professor of psychiatry and director of the International Center of Responses to Catastrophes, at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The Program is associated with two partner organizations, the Great Lakes Regional Center of Excellence (GLRCE) for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases Research, and Argonne National Laboratory. The GLRCE supports a consortium of 20 area institutions funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Research at the GLRCE focuses on developing diagnostic tools, vaccines, and treatments for diseases such as anthrax, botulism, tularemia, hemorrhagic fever viruses, and plague. Argonne National Laboratory, one of the U.S. Department of Energy's largest research centers, has capabilities in biology, chemistry, and systems analysis and modeling, which have been developed to help identify and deter potential threat’s to the nation’s safety. Together, these partners provide students with unparalleled experiential learning opportunities in the field and in the classroom.

Throughout the Program’s first year, students follow a cohort model through six core classes in which they master key competency areas including communicating public policy; legal and ethical issues; biostatistics; leadership and management; public health investigation; and psychological, social, and behavioral contexts of emergency and hazard response. In their second year, students select one area of concentration — either Scientific/Threat or Administrative/Response Preparedness — in which to focus their educational efforts. In addition to concentration coursework, students also complete a group final project that simulates responding to an emergency threat or hazard.

Open House for Prospective Students

Individuals interested in learning more about the Master of Science in Threat and Response Management can attend one of three Open House events at the University of Chicago’s Gleacher Center, located in downtown Chicago. At each Open House, industry leaders will make presentations on topics specific to the Program, and issues related to emergency threat preparation and response.

Open Houses will be held on March 19, 2007; April 11, 2007; and May 11, 2007, from 10:00 a.m. — 1:15 p.m. Open houses will be held at the University of Chicago’s Gleacher Center, 450 N. Cityfront Plaza, in Chicago. As space is limited, individuals are asked to sign up for an event, by calling Marsha Hawk, administrative director for the Program, at 773-702-0460, or via e-mail at

Additional Information

For additional information about the Master of Science in Threat Response and Management, including detailed course descriptions, application processes, completion requirements, tuition, and student loans, individuals may visit the Program’s Web site at, or contact Marsha Hawk, administrative director for the Program, at 773-702-0460, or via e-mail at

Since 1892, the Graham School of General Studies has extended the University of Chicago’s commitment to teaching and research by engaging a diverse audience of adult, non-traditional, and part-time learners in the pursuit of higher education locally, nationally, and internationally. For more than a century, the Graham School has reached more than 10,000 adult learners each year, in areas including the Humanities, Arts, and Sciences programming, as well as in the professional milieu through its Business and Professional Programs.

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Last modified at 11:09 AM CST on Monday, July 23, 2007

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